EUREKA SPRINGS — Seven bids for constructing fluoride-dispensing facilities at the Carroll-Boone Water District were considered Tuesday at a special board meeting, but the award was tabled until January because costs came in above the grant amount from Delta Dental.

President Brad Hammond of McGoodwin, Williams & Yates engineering firm said the seven bids received on Nov. 19 ranged from $894,000 to $1.296 million. L.E. Davis Construction of Harrison was the low bid, and MWY recommended awarding the contract to them.

The low bid comes in higher than the approved grant amount of $765,000 from Delta Dental insurers, who is financing the startup costs. State law requires fluoride treatment of any water system serving 5,000 or more people if startup funding can be found other than taxes or water sales revenue.

“The grant was based on $100 per square foot, which we argued was not reasonable,” Hammond said. “We had estimated $200 per square foot.”

He said he had contacted Delta Dental, who gave him verbal reassurances that their board could meet in December and would consider increasing the grant amount, as well as the deadline to complete construction, which is October of next year.

Contractors for the project agreed to honor their bid amounts until the CBWD meeting in January. The low bidder also said he thought he could complete construction in six months.

The bid package specified separate amounts for various parts of the project. The low bid designates $429,000 for construction of two buildings, one each at the east and west treatment plants; $275,000 for fluoride feed equipment; $120,000 for site improvements and connections; $60,000 for two fluoride analyzers, which will monitor the amount of residual fluoride in the water; and $10,000 for a trench and excavation safety system.

The amounts, with a 5-percent construction contingency, engineering fees, and other miscellaneous costs added, would bring the total to $1.032 million, Hammond said. He added he had looked at ways to save money, not on anything to do with safety, but on such things as the water heater brand, but those things would only save a few thousand dollars.

The $60,000 for fluoride analyzing equipment is not covered in Delta Dental’s original grant, but was included in the bid package because it gives an added level of information to operators on fluoride residual in the finished water, he said. He said he felt the increase in construction costs over Delta Dental’s original grant would be “easy to justify,” and he would continue to have conversations with them.

The board voted to table the bid award until after the Delta Dental board has met and made its decision. CBWD’s next regular meeting will be Jan. 23, 2014, and it expects to make the bid award at that time.

Hammond also made recommendations on Phase 1 of the transmission line project, which is to parallel the transmission line between the treatment plant and Eureka Springs by 37,000 linear feet. He said the engineering fee for that part of the project would be $615,000, which is 5 percent of the estimated construction cost and includes the environmental services fee.

He said that would not include a detailed biological study if one is needed. There is one possible endangered species in the project area — the Indiana bat, which roosts in trees from March through November, so any tree cutting needed could be done before March to avoid having to do a bat survey, he said.

Hammond said he attempted to keep the engineering fee as reasonable as possible, given the size of the project, and compared it to rural development grants, which have awarded 5.4 percent of construction cost.

CBWD Chairman James Yates wanted assurances MWY would take every possible precaution to monitor construction to avoid what happened with the original waterline construction 30 years ago. Costly legal problems surfaced from inadequate rock bedding when the waterline was first constructed.

Hammond said MWY will have a design inspector on site at all times and that no pipe will be covered until he sees it.

CBWD’s attorney Dan Bowers worked with MWY to write up a contract that gives the district reasonable protection, and the board approved it.

In other business, the CBWD board …

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